Rory McIlroy says he will not lose patience in his bid to secure further major success, after finishing in a tie for fourth at The Open.
Having recovered from a shocking start that saw him bogey five of his first six holes at Royal Birkdale, McIlroy moved into contention through 36 holes but was left with too much to do after an underwhelming third round.
A 67 on Sunday saw the Northern Irishman finish seven adrift of eventual champion Jordan Spieth, who now has the chance to beat McIlroy to the career Grand Slam by winning next month's US PGA Championship at Quail Hollow.
Three years have passed since McIlroy claimed the last of his four major titles to date, but he is determined to stay positive.
"Geez, one year or one major feels like too long [without winning one]. But these things happen," said the 28-year-old.
"You look at [18-time major champion] Jack Nicklaus, he went through a stretch where he didn't win a major in three years.
"I'm not comparing myself to Jack. It's hard to win them. It's very hard. It's the reason especially in this generation, excluding Tiger [Woods, the winner of 14 majors], no one's got above five. So it's tough to win them.
"Yeah, I feel like three years has been too long. But at the same time I'm not going to rush it, I'm not going to stay impatient. I'm going to play my game. And hopefully my chance arrives at some point and I'm able to take it."
After a succession of missed cuts in the lead-up to The Open, McIlroy was heartened by aspects of his play in Southport.
"The PGA is only three weeks away. So I'm happy that's coming quite quickly on the back of this," he added.
"The game is in much better shape than it was heading into this week. So I'm happy with that.
"It's hard whenever you feel like you've had a chance to win a major and you're not quite there, so it's disappointing. But at the same time I have to take the positives. And I'm looking forward to the next few weeks."